Andriy Rusol scored with ten minutes remaining as Ukraine came from behind to edge a five-goal thriller against Georgia in Kiev and start their UEFA EURO 2008™ campaign in winning style.
The FC Dnipro Dnipropetrovsk defender rose to head Ruslan Rotan's cross into the top corner and complete a hard-fought comeback after Georgia had led with half-an-hour left. Shota Arveladze and Georgi Demetradze had earlier overturned Andriy Shevchenko's 31st-minute opener but within four minutes of Demetradze's strike Rotan had restored parity, paving the way for Rusol's late winner.
The result leaves Georgia with three points from their opening three games, and after the first two had brought nine goals, tonight's match was always likely to produce a few more. Zurab Khizanishvili almost broke the deadlock as early as the second minute when his long-range effort flew just over the crossbar with Olexandr Shovkovskiy struggling to make up his ground. Arveladze and Rotan also went close at either end before Shevchenko finally broke the deadlock, heading in Serhiy Tkachenko's right-wing cross.
Georgia hit back seven minutes later, Arveladze finding space in the area and blasting beyond Shovkovskiy and although the home team piled forward in search of a response, Grigol Chanturia proved an insurmountable presence in the Georgia goal. The visitors, who had lost 3-0 to France on Saturday, began to grow in confidence after the restart and silenced the partisan Olyimpiyskiy stadium crowd when Demetradze coolly slotted in from ten metres just after the hour.
They soon regained their voice when Anatoliy Tymoschuk's vicious centre was powered into the net from close range by the head of Rotan and after a sustained rally from the determined Georgians, the FC Dynamo Kyiv midfielder then turned provider, supplying Rusol with the winner. Ukraine will have to plug the gaps ahead of their second outing on 7 October against Italy, who then travel to Georgia four days later.